Oregon’s Ionescu gets 13th triple-double, sets NCAA record
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — It took only 19 seconds for Sabrina Ionescu to show she’s mortal after all.
Her missed free throw snapped a streak of 22 makes, but that was about the only flaw Thursday.
Ionescu set an NCAA record with her 13th triple-double and Ruthy Hebard had 20 points on 9-for-9 shooting to lead No. 7 Oregon past Air Force 82-36.
“Yeah, I guess, awesome,” Ionescu said nonchalantly of her accomplishment. “Just another day.”
The junior All-America guard, who had shared the career mark with former BYU men’s player Kyle Collinsworth, finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists for the Ducks (10-1) in her 82nd game. She broke the record with her 10th rebound during the fourth quarter.
Having the mark to herself came as a relief.
“It definitely is nice,” Ionescu said. “Walking around I always hear people tell me, ‘Oh, you needed a few more rebounds to break the record,’ and I feel like I don’t really focus on it too much, but hearing it all the time definitely starts to get to you.
“I’m happy it’s behind me now and I can just focus on what I can do in order for us to win.”
Acting coach Mark Campbell subbed out Ionescu and Hebard with five minutes to play. He filled in with head coach Kelly Graves serving a two-game NCAA suspension for allowing violations by an assistant strength coach during practice two seasons ago.
“We just tried to keep it as normal as possible,” Campbell said. “We have a special group of players who obviously are extremely talented. With their maturity level, they know what’s at stake in every game, regardless of the opponent, and that makes my job and our whole coaching staff’s job pretty easy.”
Hebard, who came in ranked fifth nationally in shooting accuracy at 69.0 percent, was 7 for 7 in the first half. Satou Sabally added 19 points and eight rebounds for the Ducks, and Erin Boley had 11 points.
Haley Jones led the Falcons (4-7) with eight points and Riley Snyder had seven.
“I didn’t think the score reflected as many good things as we did,” said Air Force coach Chris Gobrecht, who started two freshmen and two sophomores. “I thought we had some great, great looks and just got some tough bounces.
“I’m disappointed in the score, (but) I’m not necessarily disappointed in our level of play. We’re just so young.”
Air Force stayed close midway through the second quarter before Oregon closed out the half on a 17-4 run to lead 37-22. Ionescu already was well on her way to making history with eight points, seven rebounds and nine assists.
The Ducks put the game away with a 23-5 third quarter, punctuated in the final seconds by Ionescu’s drop pass between her legs to Boley for a 3-pointer and her 11th assist.
Air Force: Second loss to a ranked opponent leaves it with a four-game losing streak heading into Mountain West Conference play. The Falcons won their season opener for the first time in eight years and beat Army for the first time since 2007 during nonconference play.
Oregon: Showed no letdown from its rugged 82-74 win over No. 4 Mississippi State on national TV on Tuesday night. The Ducks have one more game in the two weeks before starting Pac-12 play against Washington. Graves will miss Friday’s game against UC Irvine to complete his suspension.
Oregon figures to move up after its home win over No. 4 Mississippi State and routing Air Force. The Ducks were third in the first five polls, their best ranking ever, before a loss at Michigan State dropped them to No. 7.
Air Force: Opens Mountain West play at New Mexico on Jan. 2.
Oregon: Hosts UC Irvine on Friday.